Wow, cable can be expensive! The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says the average American spends around $65 a month — nearly $800 a year — on cable. We spend much more in our home! The NDP Group says it’s more like $90 a month, and estimates it’ll hit $200 by 2020. But there are indeed, many ways to save on cable bills!
But there are a ton of options to make cutting your cable bill very easy, thanks to the new streaming services available! It can be confusing, so here is some information on deciding which option is best for you!
It really comes down to how many channels you want, which channels you watch and when you watch them.
Here are some options at “cutting the cord” and saving well over 50% off your cable bill.
Get an Antenna– The modern equivalent of the old-school “rabbit ears,” which can cost under $10 and gives free access to network content. Here are some of my favorite choices for antenna’s. It’s not on-demand (unless you get a recording device), but for live events like the Super Bowl this is a great option.
Sling TV ($20 per month) Did you know the average household gets 200 channels, but only watches 18 of them. If that’s you, and you want to be up to the minute, then check out Sling TV. Sling allows you to live stream 20 channels, like ESPN, CNN and The Food Network. You’ll have access to movies, too.
PlayStation Vue ($49.99 per month) The new PlayStation Vue live streams TV, and offers 50 channels, movies and recording/playback functionality. It requires a PlayStation (PS4 or PS3 ). Right now the service is offered in DFW, Miami, New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia.
($8.25 per month) Similar to Netflix and Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime offers TV shows, movies and original series, but – instead of a month-to-month commitment – you sign up for a $99 one-year membership. Right now you can get a 30 day trial for FREE!
Hulu Plus ($7.99 per month) If you can hold out a day for your favorite shows, then Hulu Plus offers a variety of popular shows the day after they air. You’ll have access to movies and original series as well.
Netflix ($7.99-11.99 per month) Hate ads? Neftlix is your choice. Netflix has seasons of network cable shows, movies and original series, like Orange Is The New Black and House of Cards.
Time.com has a great article on deciding what kind of watcher you are and planning alternatives from The Basic Cable Junkie, The Prestige TV Grazer, The Serial Binger to Sports Fans.
For example: For Sports Fans
If you want—or need—to see a significant number of your local teams’ games, I’m going to stop right here. This is one area where streaming services can’t yet fully deliver. Local games are generally exclusive to regional sports networks, and you’ll still need cable for that. There’s also the issue of some online services being a little more unstable than die-hard fans might like. HOWEVER, there are often ways for you to watch online! We watch our sons games through a school program live online when we can’t be there in person.
However, if you’re a more casual sports fan or a supporter of an out-of-market team, cord cutting is still a worthwhile option. Sling TV will give you ESPN and ESPN 2 in addition to a handful of basic cable channels for $20 a month, and for another $5 you can get even more sports options, including ESPN U, ESPNEWS, and the SEC Network. Add in an indoor TV antenna and you’ll also have access to network sports.
For supporters of teams outside your local area, some sport-specific streaming options might also be attractive. Each major sports league offers some sort of online viewing option for somewhere in the neighborhood of $110 a year, with the caveat that local games are blacked out. (NFL fans can pay only $69.99 to watch any team they like, but must make do with replays.)
The Plan (option 1): Sling TV with sports package and an indoor TV antenna.
Price: $308.50 per year ($25.70 per month).
Savings: $490.82 per year ($40.90 per month).
The Plan (option 2): Sling TV with sports package, indoor TV antenna, and one sport-specific streaming package.
Price: $418.50 per year ($34.88 per month).
Savings: $380.82 per year ($31.74 per month).
You could buy about 12 additional seasons of television before cable becomes less expensive.